Zygomatic implants have emerged as a groundbreaking solution for patients with severe maxillary resorption (diminished bone structure in the upper jaw), providing a ray of hope for those who would otherwise not qualify for traditional dental implants.
This innovative approach to tooth replacement, known as the “graftless technique” or “Zygoma technique,” was pioneered by Prof. Branemark & Nobel Biocare in Sweden.
It offers a remarkable solution to fill gaps in your mouth by eliminating the need for bone grafting or sinus augmentation (sinus lift surgery), and instead, go for zygomatic implant procedures.
What is unique about Zygomatic Implants?
Unlike regular ‘root type’ dental implants, zygoma implants are inserted into the zygomatic bone (cheekbone) to support replacement teeth in the upper jaw, such as dental bridge and dentures.
The zygoma is a highly dense bone that remains unaffected even when the patient is facing jaw bone loss (resorption), providing a stable anchor for dental implants, and subsequently replacement teeth, including a complete arch of false teeth.
This makes zygomatic implants a great choice for dental patients who have diminished bone structure due to periodontitis or other causes. Usually, normal dental implants are inserted into the jawbone; however, if you have upper jaw bone loss, the bone may be too weak to support a traditional dental implant and will result in dental problems.
Fortunately, the zygomatic bones do not lose mass. So even if the jawbone is insufficient for standard dental implants, patients can still hope to restore their beautiful and functional smile with this new dental treatment.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of zygomatic implants:
Advantages of Zygomatic Implants
1. High success rate due to stable anchoring
Zygomatic implants boast an outstanding success rate of over 97%, which is comparable to that of traditional implants. The elongated shape of these implants enables them to anchor securely in the dense zygoma bone, which remains unaffected by severe bone loss. This stability ensures a strong foundation for prosthetic teeth, providing patients with long-lasting functional and aesthetic benefits.
2. No requirement for bone grafting
Traditionally, patients with upper jaw bone loss needed bone grafts to support dental implants, leading to prolonged healing periods. However, zygomatic implants present a paradigm shift with their graft-less technique. By utilizing the zygoma bone, these implants provide immediate results and significantly reduce the overall treatment timeline.
3. Elimination of sinus lifts (augmentation)
In cases of upper jaw bone loss, sinus lifts are often a prerequisite before implant placement. This additional procedure strengthens the bone between the mouth cavity and the sinus, ensuring implants do not interfere with the sinus cavity. However, zygomatic implants circumvent the need for sinus lifts, simplifying the process and minimizing waiting time for patients.
4. Immediate functionality and aesthetic benefits
One of the most remarkable advantages of zygomatic implants is the ability to enjoy your new teeth right away, with restored functionality and aesthetics of your smile. Unlike traditional implants, zygomatic implants can be immediately loaded, allowing patients to enjoy biting and chewing hard foods right after the procedure. This swift restoration enhances self-confidence and provides patients with a pleasing smile from the outset.
5. Compatibility with traditional implants
Zygomatic implants can seamlessly complement traditional implants, offering a comprehensive solution for tooth replacement. This compatibility extends to both the upper and lower jaws, granting dental professionals the flexibility to tailor treatment options based on individual patient needs. By combining zygomatic implants with traditional implants, a holistic approach to full arch rehabilitation can be achieved.
6. Convenience of receiving all treatment in one practice
An additional advantage of zygomatic implant treatment is the convenience of having all stages of the procedure performed within a single practice. This eliminates the need for patients to travel between different locations, streamlining the process and enhancing overall convenience. By offering comprehensive care in one facility, dental professionals can provide a more efficient and patient-centered experience.
Disadvantages of Zygomatic Implants
1. Limitations to the upper jaw
While zygomatic implants have proven to be highly effective for addressing missing teeth in the upper jaw, they are not applicable to the lower jaw. This distinction is primarily due to anatomical differences. However, even patients with missing teeth in both jaws can benefit from zygomatic implants, as they eliminate the need for upper dentures, which can be more challenging to manage compared to lower dentures.
2. Potential complications such as sinusitis
As with any dental procedure, zygomatic implant placement carries potential risks and complications. One of the notable concerns is the development of sinusitis after the procedure. Sinusitis requires careful management and, in some cases, may pose a risk of implant loss. Additionally, peri-implantitis or osseointegration failure are potential complications that should be taken into consideration during the treatment planning process.
While zygomatic implants have been regarded as a viable alternative to bone grafting and sinus augmentation for patients with severe maxillary resorption, the potential challenges and complications require careful evaluation and monitoring. As such, it is imperative for dental professionals to assess each patient’s specific circumstances and determine the suitability of zygomatic implants on an individual basis.
Through careful evaluation and personalized treatment planning, dental professionals can determine the optimal approach to deliver successful outcomes and improve patients’ oral health and quality of life.